Dr Christina Malamateniou recognised by the City community for her outstanding contributions to radiography.

By Eve Lacroix (Communications Officer), Published

City, University of London named Dr Christina Malamateniou one of its Extraordinary Women.

Nominated by the City community, she joins a list of women who study or work at City who are being celebrated for their remarkable stories of achievement.

Dr Christina Malamateniou is a researcher and academic, having previously worked clinically in radiography. She was celebrated for her outstanding contributions to the field of radiography, including pioneering an autism-friendly MRI scan, exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on radiography academics and practitioners, and leading research into creating ethical artificial intelligence (AI) tools in radiology.

Dr Christina Malamateniou named one of City's Extraordinary Women

She is the Postgraduate Programme Director for Radiography at City, looking after both master’s and PhD programmes and leading many different research projects both nationally and internationally.

For Dr Malamateniou, supporting the next generation of radiographers is a key part of her work. She has led the national research mentoring scheme for radiographers for the past seven years, and describes this project as the one she is the most proud of working on as she is able to support those who care enough to make a difference.

Describing being named one of City's Extraordinary Women, she said:

It is really humbling looking at the previous winners of the same nomination; it came as a very big surprise, because when you work so intensely you don’t often take the time to stop and celebrate.

It’s a great honour and a huge responsibility to be named one of City's Extraordinary Women and a fitting way to celebrate the achievements that have occurred in the field of radiography during my time at City.

I am grateful to the people who nominated and elected me, to our School of Health & Psychological Sciences, to our Deanery and my Head of Department for giving me the platform of support and the opportunity to thrive and, of course, to all of our students and Research Assistants for their passion and hard work.

This nomination is the result of great teamwork within the Department of Radiography and our many national and international collaborators and I would like to dedicate it to all women who do their best every day to make our society fairer, more inclusive and more collaborative.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have amazing mentors, both men and women; there have been some really inspiring, dynamic women in my life who taught me resilience, perseverance, empathy, the importance of attention to detail and of giving back to society; my mum, Aikaterini, my good mentors and friends, Dorien Pronk Larive, retired CEO of the European Federation of Radiographer Societies, and Dr Rachel Harris, research lead at the Society and College of Radiographers. I owe them so much.

Professor Juliet John, Vice President (Education) and Senior Diversity Ambassador for Gender, said:

Dr Christina Malamateniou is an inspiring researcher and educator, a remarkable individual and team player who is making a difference to the lives of patients, students and society at large.

Her patient-centred approach to the use of AI in radiography, furthermore, epitomises City’s values – it is inclusive, puts people at the centre of scientific and health care practice, and ensures that cutting edge artificial intelligence is ethically and humanly driven.

City women have been achieving the extraordinary since the University’s inception in 1894. Dr Malamateniou is highly deserving of the Extraordinary Women nomination, which celebrates the women who inspire us and who push the boundaries of what can be accomplished.

Developing a human-centred approach to patient care

For Dr Malamateniou, radiography was the perfect career for her, being at the intersection of patient care and technology. “I always wanted to help others through my research,” she said. “At the same time, I am very interested in technological innovation as the catalyst for improving clinical practice.”

She studied radiography and medical imaging in Greece, her home country, and worked clinically for a few years, before moving to the UK to pursue her PhD in perinatal and neonatal MRI at Imperial College London.

The findings of her PhD felt like a eureka moment and she decided to pursue research further, landing a purely academic role at King’s College London, before joining the University of Greenwich as Associate Professor and Research Lead in its Midwifery and Nursing department.

In this role, she worked with many families and autistic children, which made her reflect on the challenges faced by autistic people when going through MRI scanners, which can cause sensory overload for patients and reduce accessibility.

She became passionate about improving experiences of medical imaging and has led pioneering research into autism-friendly MRI scans. Her recommendations are helping neurodivergent and neurotypical patients alike by making MRI scans more person-centred. She said:

In healthcare, you connect with people at a very different level; you can see their vulnerable sides, and you see people in difficult situations and you need to empathise and not let that weigh you down. You need to use this emotional response of witnessing human pain to create much needed change.

As radiographers, our role sits between medical imaging technology and patient care; while technology can improve diagnosis and treatment pathways, the patient might not remember much about the technology or the medical jargon. Instead, they will remember how we made them feel.

Providing reasonable adjustments and accessible environments in healthcare are both vital for patients’ experience to ensure they get the care they need. Knowing that our patient had a good experience also contributes to our job satisfaction.

Creating an ethical framework for AI in radiography

Dr Malamateniou is a strong advocate for the benefits of AI in radiography and is working to facilitate its safe and effective implementation in clinical practice. She is currently working on several projects including designing AI governance, researching the impact of AI on the career and professional identity of radiographers, providing AI education and researching AI adoption.

She has been the Chair of the AI working and advisory groups at the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) since 2020, and is also working with the British Standards Institute as part of a team of multidisciplinary researchers, who in April will be publishing new auditable standards for AI in healthcare. She was elected to the EusoMII board, the European Society of Radiology branch for medical imaging informatics.

Dr Malamateniou redesigned the radiography programme at City and in 2020 launched the ‘Artificial Intelligence for Radiographers’ module, which was the first of its kind in the EMEA region and attracted students from across the globe.

She sees her work in AI and radiography as the convergence of her multiple interests, bringing together technological innovations and a focus on patient-centred care. She said:

I want AI to succeed, I want it to be safe and for us all to be able to harness its huge potential. In the past, research emphasis has been on the development of AI tools and innovation; it is time we focused on usability driven by clinical needs and governance of these tools.

Now, the industry is working to map out the principles of AI governance for it to be used in an efficient and ethical manner. And I am proud to say City, University of London plays a huge role in this initiative.

AI is only as good as the data we feed it with, so it has to be fed with well-curated data, representative data, that is free from biases. AI has such massive reach that, if used correctly and ethically, it can make healthcare more equitable and inclusive by incorporating more demographics into the AI algorithms. It can also improve workflows and support healthcare staff wellbeing.

This is a unique opportunity to make things better for patients and clinical practitioners and reimagining healthcare for now and for the future.